Below are a few emerging issues likely to impact accounting professionals in the coming years:
- Continuing demand for skilled professionals
Because regulatory compliance requirements are ongoing and workloads continue growing, demand for top accounting professionals is likely to remain steady. The need for experienced personnel is expected to increase as companies begin preparing for the departure of baby-boom-age workers. A Robert Half International survey found that 78 percent of businesses are already taking steps to compensate for the loss of these employees, including enhancing their recruitment and retention programs.
- International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
The United States may face added pressure to conform to international standards as more companies around the world adopt IFRS.
- Pervasive technology
Many of those now entering the workforce have enjoyed nonstop connectivity most of their lives, from campuses with wireless networks to personal digital assistants and web-based cellular phones. The challenge for these individuals now will be learning to balance the productivity advantages information technology offers with the potential pitfalls, such as over-relying on IT instead of face-to-face communication to build relationships.
With a greater number of companies conducting operations internationally and building workforces comprised of individuals from multiple countries, accountants will need to understand different cultures and business perspectives. Foreign companies listed on U.S. exchanges as well as U.S.-based businesses with multinational operations seek accountants who are familiar with international laws and regulations and can help their organizations adapt to new legislation.
- Fraud control
As financial activities are more intensely scrutinized by shareholders and government agencies, the demand for skilled forensic accountants has increased. These professionals previously were brought in after a misdeed had been committed, but organizations now are hiring them to tighten procedures to prevent fraud before it occurs.